The Margaret Gada Slosberg Charitable Foundation

The Slosberg Travel Grant was established for graduate students at The American University of Paris to foster high-level graduate research and activism in the field of social justice.

Provided through the Margaret Gada Slosberg Charitable Foundation by alumna Karen Slosberg MA ’13, this program aimed to advance research abroad while incorporating a hands-on humanitarian component. From its creation in 2011 up to 2021, numerous master’s students have conducted field and scholarly research with a focus on social justice, human rights, humanitarian relief and international development. 

AUP graduate students from all programs were eligible to apply for funding to cover the costs of a volunteer/research project with an NGO or civil society organization in the developing world, in an emerging economy or with vulnerable communities in post-industrial societies. Individual grants covered both travel and living expenses. Students were expected to serve as on location volunteers or as participant observers with a local organization for a period of one to six months on location.

Grant Recipients (by academic year)

Grant Recipients from 2011-2012
  • Tendayi Chirawu – Communication Gaps in Aid Flows to Namibian NGOS’s: A Case Study on CLaSH
  • Justine Davis – Civil Society’s Relationship with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ivory Coast
  • Ted Liu – The Egyptian Parliamentary ‘Election’ Influence on Muslim Brotherhood Political Behavior
  • Lacy Wood – The International Consequences of Vietnam’s Economic Development
Grant Recipients from 2012-2013
  • Sabrina Cook – Education in Palestine Refugee Camps in Lebanon
  • Sarah Finnigan – Volunteering for community-driven development with Project Mercy in Yetebon, Ethiopia
  • Rachael Haileselasse – Teaching English in Refugee Camps in Nablus, Palestine
  • Rachel Hardy – The Necessity of Creativity and Imagination in Education: Fostering Child Development and Resilience in Rural Pondicherry, India
  • Jesse Tucker Lichtenstein – Translating Social Injustice in Postcolonial Guatemala: El Informante Nativo by Ronald Flores
  • Kristen McGuiness – Vocational Training in At-Risk Communities: Research into the Role of Restorative Participation & Client Investment
  • Jessica Proett – Convivencia Today: Interfaith Relation and Interaction in Modern Spain 
  • Eileen Weinstein – Introducing Children of North-African and Sub-Saharan African Decent to the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris
Grant Recipients from 2013-2014
  • Dawn Booker – Marketing research with special focus in Programing for S.A. NGOs, the Smile Foundation and Afrika Tikkun at Marie Stopes International, Cape Town S.A.
  • Kathleen Buchholz – Lifeline Energy: Solar Power and Women's Empowerment in Zambia
  • Rachel Cochran – Teaching English in Refugee Camps in Nablus, Palestine
  • Judith Cunningham – Sexual Violence as a Systemic Crime within Development Work which Is Dependent on Feminized Laborers in Positions of Heightened Vulnerability: Surveys from former Peace Corps Volunteers within the Pacific Northwest Region (USA)
  • Amy Dean – Census, Identity, and Its Relationship to Conflict Resolution in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Elizabeth Ann Gahl – Investigation of the Cuban Dance Community as a Positive Societal Instrument
  • Elodie Khavarani – Cyprus Case: Transitional Justice & Information
  • Jean-Baptiste Matton – Central Command Response to Conflict in Central African Republic
  • Victoria Rose St George – Female Migrant Labor in Malaysia
  • Tommaso Virgili – Sharia and Human Rights in the Egyptian Constitution
  • Linda Witters – Young, Single, and Cheap: How Female Migrants Are the Temporary Crutch on which the World Economy Leans in Beijing, China
Grant Recipients from 2014-2015
  • Catherine Ngo – UN Response to Syrian Refugee Crisis: UNHCR Lebanon Office
  • Pamela Otali – Volunteer Work in Vietnam
  • Anna Wiersma – Working to advance economic and social development in the slums and rural areas surrounding Pondicherry, South India with the Indian NGO The People’s Social Development Foundation (PSDF)
Grant Recipients from 2015-2016
  • Lamis Al Jasem – Supporting Syrian Refugee Children Education at Najda Now International in Beirut, Lebanon
  • Baker Brandy – Volunteering with children in Guatemala
  • Gurkaya Cansu – Gender Meets Forest & Landscape Restoration: Interning with the World Resources Institute’s Forest and Landscape Restoration department in Delhi, India
  • Francesca Rose Emma Gottschalk – Voting Behaviors and Attitudes in the “Born Free” Generation in Cape Town, South Africa
  • Rachel Houston – Social Policy research Assistant Volunteer at MDRC – Improving education and employment opportunities for low-income and disconnected children and adults in the US
  • Stefanie Kundakjian – Armenia’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Shadow Report with the Women’s Support Center in Armenia
  • Joshua Laskey – Creating Universal Access for Low-Income Immigrant Students and Their Families through Translation of AVID Materials in California, US
Grant Recipients from 2016-2017
  • Viviana Alvarado Pacheco – Volunteering at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, Belize
  • Dana Dadoush – Sustainable Management of Relief in Syria’s War Zone: Volunteer work with Canaturk Academic and Research Development in Gaziantep Turkey
  • Elyse Elder – Community Learning as The Best Weapon to Fight Poverty in South Africa and Zambia
  • Rachel Fallon – Pathways to Equity and Opportunity by Focusing on the Intersection of Arts and Social Justice with Bronx-Based NGO Dream Yard
  • Faith Toran – Waste Management with Wasteless in Tamil Nadu, India
Grant Recipients from 2017-2018


  • Nolwazi Mjwara - The Case of SIDAREC During the 2017 Kenyan Presidential Election
  • Patricia Molinos – Women’s Alternative Resilience Strategies to Machismo in the Dominican Republic
Grant Recipients from 2018-2019
  • Andee Brown Gershenberg – The Experience of Female Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Accessing Higher Education in the Region Ile-de-France
Grant Recipients from 2019-2020

Anna Chapman - ABAAD Volunteer Research Assistant in Lebanon

Madeleine Van Derheyden - Well-being as Experience: What Does it Feel Like to ‘Develop’?  An Ethnographic Study of Three Villages in Tamil Nadu, India

Grant Recipients from 2020-2021

Prizma Ghimire - Unseen and Unspoken to: Impact of COVID-19 on Returnee Migrant Workers of Nepal in Nepal

Heather Strassel - Causes of Homelessness and Gaps in Services in Athens, Greece

Featured Grant Recipients

Andee Brown Gershenberg

Andee Brown Gershenberg, Île-de-France 2019

Andee Gershenberg’s research focuses on the specific experiences of female asylum seekers and refugees in accessing higher educations – particularly, the obstacles that are keeping them from entering into the higher education system or from continuing until completion. Since 2015, France has received an influx of asylum seekers as a result of current global conflicts. As one of the leading members of the European Union, France is highly regarded in terms of the development of sustainable systems for managing migration flows and upholding human and refugee rights. The French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) has reported that over 250,000 asylum requests have been made during this time. This places the nation in a critical position to address the rights and needs of asylum seekers and refugees that extend beyond immediate humanitarian assistance and focus on long-term integration.

Andee’s collaboration with UniR was fundamental in positioning her within the NGO ecosystem. As a result, her research is based on 12 research participants in qualitative interviews regarding their migratory journeys, their academic experiences, and their challenges with integration. Through looking into the lives of the research participants, the research provides an in-depth analysis beginning with an examination of the processes in which each of the women have found value in their education, which is often rooted in childhood experiences.

Patricia Molinos

Patricia Molinos, Dominican Republic 2018

The Dominican Republic is among the countries with highest rates of gender-based physical violence against women in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region and an epicentre of machismo. Yet, femicides – as the most extreme expression of violence against women – are only the visible tip of a much greater and complex iceberg. A wide range of other more subtle ways of discrimination integrated in society lie under the surface but equally push women back from having access to equal opportunities as men. These include, for example, the belief that women are natural caregivers and ought to shoulder the burden of unpaid care and domestic work alone; the condescendence and paternalism with which women are treated throughout their daily lives and at work, even if they are far more qualified; the unequal distribution of power and decision making positions between the two sexes; or the persistent gender wage gap that results in women being paid less for doing exactly the same work as their male colleagues.

Patricia Molinos’ thesis explores these issues and examines the conversation around women´s empowerment through the lens of social stigma in the Dominican Republic. Field research aimed to shed a light on the lesser obvious forms of discrimination such as the aforementioned, which were discussed with key informants to this work. Particularly, the research focussed on identifying what main approaches are in place to advance women's rights and gender equality, what challenges the selected initiatives face and why, and what are potential entry points are to tackle obstacles and eradicate ongoing inequalities.

Nolwazi Mjwara, Kenya 2017

Despite Kenya's impressive mobile data penetration rates, poverty and unemployment plague Kenya’s youth, especially in the country's slums. Forty five percent of Kenya's population lives in poverty. One in five Kenyan youth are unemployed and Nairobi hosts the highest number of unemployed young adults in the country. Eighty percent of Kenya's population is younger than 35. The youth in Kenya constitute over 50% of the electorate. The year 2017 marked Kenya’s second general election since adopting the 2010 Constitution. The first under this Constitution, in 2013, had lower youth voter turnout than anticipated. In 2016, the United Nations (UN) World Youth Report on Youth Civic Engagement. highlighted that youth participation in electoral processes were on the decline on a global scale. The report also reflected that young adult citizenries who form electorates in Africa are far less likely (34.5% compared to 66.2% in South America) to vote than their counterparts from other continents.

Why are youth participation figures in Africa lower than those of their counterparts? What are some of the communication shortfalls contributing to this problem? Since most young Kenyans acquire most of their information online, what communication efforts were been made by Kenyan civil society to address this political engagement gap for the 2017 election? Kenya's high mobile penetration rates, its digitally savvy youth demographic forming over half of the electorate, the previous low levels of Kenyan youth civic engagement and being a Global Communications student in the Development Track, all contributed to why Nolwazi Mjwara wanted to examine the role of ICTs in youth civic engagement in Kenya. Nolwazi’s study ultimately aimed to contribute to critical, ICT4D and youth civic engagement literature by examining the case of SIDAREC during the 2017 Kenyan presidential election.

Faith Toran


Faith’s MA thesis focused on a contemporary reappraisal of the participatory turn in development practices. In particular, her thesis used the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) method popularized in the ‘90s and her field research undertaken in Tamil Nadu, India with a waste management educational initiative, kNOw PLASTICS Educational Programme, designed around “participatory methods of environmental education for social justice.” Faith also collaborated with WasteLess India, an educational research organization focused on sustainable waste management based in Auroville, which is using ‘participatory’ approaches that help to change the harmful habits that affect the way we make, dispose of and think about waste. While with WasteLess, Faith worked as an Education and Communication Coordinator for 6 months. In efforts to address the challenges of the participatory paradigm of development (generally highly theoretically supported, but lacking support in practical theory), Faith engaged the WasteLess team in a wider scope of ‘participatory’ communication, conducting a PRA session yielding a model of participatory communication that proved to be an enjoyable and creative method for the students to generate their own knowledge about waste. It also served as practical data for the participatory paradigm and aligned with the WasteLess aim of targeting the future generation with fun and engaging educational activities concerning waste management, to bring about behavioral change and instill positive habits early on in a child’s life.

To improve development practice and theory, Faith advocates for “another communication” for development, and suggests that good communication must take place in order for development to be experienced. Based on her field research experiencing and facilitating PRA, Faith believes PRA may be used as a prerequisite to gather baseline information on worldviews and knowledge in a development context in order to facilitate a process that is local in context, while being empowering and genuinely participatory.